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All 8 Types of Stucco Finishes with Pictures

A Comprehensive Guide to Different Types of Stucco Finish

Stucco finishes whether traditional or synthetic, offer a unique way to add color and interest to the exterior of a building. When professionally applied, stucco provides long-term durability, fire resistance, and low maintenance. It also offers a range of versatile finish types to enhance the overall curb appeal of any structure.

What is Stucco?

Stucco is a mixture of Portland cement, sand, water, fiber, pigments, hydraulic cement, and lime.

different types of exterior stucco finishes

Modern stuccos now include polymers and other agents to improve flexibility and resilience. This combination results in a durable, fire- and pest-resistant finish. Moreover, properly applying, maintaining, and repairing stucco can increase the resale value of a building or home.

To create a stucco finish, professional builders like Fonsecas Construction team apply multiple layers of stucco to the exterior, building up a thickness of about one inch.

Stucco comes in a variety of colors and texture finishes, ranging from smooth to textured.

Depending on the desired aesthetic, different textures can be achieved with the application of stucco.

The 8 Types of Stucco:

Types of Stucco finishes photos are displayed below

To create a unique exterior for every building or home, architects can choose from numerous stucco finish application techniques. Sto offer a diverse selection of high-performance Stucco Finishes to help realize these aesthetics.

The Stucco options include:

Different types of stucco finishes Comparison Table

In this comparison table, you will find information about different types of stucco textures to help you determine the one that best suits your needs. The table outlines which textures are suitable for types of stucco exterior applications and which are designed for interior purposes, whether commercial or residential.

Stucco Finish

Common Uses

Interior or Exterior



Sand (Float) Stucco Finish



Hides imperfections, easy repairs

Limited color options, potential cracking

Cat (California) Stucco Finish

Residential & Commercial


Durable, versatile, hides imperfections

Requires skilled application, potential cracking

Dash Stucco Finish

Residential & Commercial


Provides texture, hides imperfections & Easy to repair

Limited color options, potential for cracking

Santa Barbara Stucco Finish



Rustic, textured appearance, hides imperfections

Limited color options, potential for cracking

Worm Stucco Finish

Residential & Commercial


Unique texture, hides imperfections & Easy to repair

Limited color options, potential for cracking

Lace Stucco Finish

Residential & Commercial


Easy repairs, hides imperfections

Can be difficult to achieve desired texture without experience

English Stucco Finish

Residential & Commercial


Sophisticated appearance, durability

Requires expert application, can be challenging to repair

Smooth Stucco Finishes

Commercial & Residential


Sleek, industrial look

Requires ultra-smooth substrate, expert application may be needed

1. Sand (Float) Stucco Finish

Sand stucco finishes produce a fine, medium, or coarse grainy texture appearance effective in hiding imperfections.

Cracked and damaged sand stucco can be quickly and easily repaired. Builders typically apply sand stucco with a float tool, creating a distinctive classic look to homes and buildings.

Once the stucco is applied, an airless spray or paint roller is used to finalize the finish, ensuring that the stucco can breathe after the paint dries.

Sand (Float) Stucco Finish

2. Cat (California) Stucco Finish

The Cat stucco finish gives your building or house a distinctive and elegant appearance. It combines large smooth areas with smaller rough patches, creating a unique and airy look. You have the flexibility to customize the color and texture of the Cat stucco finish to match your desired aesthetic.

Applying Cat stucco finish is a labor-intensive process that involves two coats of sprayed or troweled finish, followed by manual finishing touches. Typically, a fine or ultra-fine stucco is used, but a medium texture can also be suitable.

It is important to note that repairing Cat stucco can be challenging, as it tends to develop cracks or breaks. To minimize the occurrence of hairline cracks, we recommend applying an additional layer of Sto's Crack Defense system. This will help ensure the longevity and durability of your stucco finish.

Cat Stucco Finish

3. Dash (Roughcast, Knockdown Finish, Fine Dash Finish, Pebble) Stucco Finish

The Dash stucco finish creates a textured look, ranging from light to dense, with a gravely, gritty, and bumpy appearance. For a unique texture, you can enhance the mix by adding shells, fine gravel, or pebbles.

Builders commonly apply dash stucco finish on the exterior of structures using a pressure gun or hopper gun. The application can be done with a light, medium, or heavy volume, resulting in a rough and uneven finish that is easy to patch in case of cracks or breaks.

For a knockdown dash finish, simply use a metal trowel to flatten the peaks of the stucco. This technique adds a smoother touch to the overall texture.

Dash Stucco Finish

4. Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara Mission) Stucco Finish

The Santa Barbara stucco finish brings an elegant touch to your project, creating a natural and speckled design. It achieves an irregular and semi-smooth finish, reminiscent of the adobe-style appearance found in Santa Barbara Mission.

Builders apply Santa Barbara stucco in two coats using a pool float trowel. The process involves a base coat followed by a thick topcoat, ensuring a durable and attractive finish.

Santa Barbara Stucco Finish

5. Worm (Putz and Swirl) Stucco Finish

The worm stucco finish creates a unique and distinctive exterior for buildings and homes. The application process involves incorporating large pieces of aggregate, which creates tiny grooves in the texture of the stucco spread.

Builders apply the labor-intensive worm finish with a trowel, offering a range of fine, medium, or heavy finish options to achieve the desired effect. This creates a unique and elegant look that stands out from other stucco finishes.

Worm Stucco Finish

6. Lace and Skip (Spanish Lace) Stucco Finish

The lace stucco finish provides a semi-smooth appearance with hidden grooves beneath the surface, effectively concealing imperfections and making repairs easier. Light layers create a cloudy lace effect, while heavy layers resemble lace applied to stone.

Builders have the option to apply the lace and skip stucco finish either by hand or with a spray application method. This versatile finish allows for customization and can enhance the aesthetic appeal of any project.

Lace Stucco Finish

7. English Stucco Finish

English stucco finish offers a sophisticated look with a heavily brushed-on texture that creates an antiqued appearance. The finish showcases layered brush strokes with upward curls, adding depth and character.

English stucco is not only durable but also forgiving when it comes to repairs and patching. This makes it a practical choice for maintaining the beauty of your stucco finish over time.

English Stucco Finish

8. Smooth Stucco Finishes

Smooth stucco finishes offer a velvety and sleek appearance, creating an industrial aesthetic. Achieving this finish may require expert help, as it relies on an ultra-smooth substrate that can be challenging to attain.

For the best results, Sto recommends consulting an expert for all smooth stucco applications. Their expertise will ensure that the desired ultrafine finish is achieved efficiently and professionally.

Smooth Stucco Finish


Stucco texture offers a range of options for both commercial and residential purposes, allowing users to achieve their desired aesthetic and functional results.

When deciding on a stucco texture, it ultimately comes down to personal preference.

Each option has its own benefits and drawbacks, such as hiding imperfections, versatility, durability, unique texture, or requiring expert application.

It's important to consider these factors and consult with a professional to ensure the desired outcome is achieved.

Type of Stucco FAQ's

What is the best stucco finish?

The choice of the best stucco finish can vary based on personal preferences and specific project needs. Each type of stucco finish has its pros and cons. In order to determine the best stucco finish, it is recommended to consult with a professional stucco contractor who can provide you with information on which finish is best suited for your specific needs. Additionally, the comparison table provided in the previous response can help you identify which finish aligns most closely with your preferences and requirements.

What is the best finish for exterior stucco?

What is the most expensive type of stucco?

Are there different types of stucco?

What is the traditional finish for stucco?

Is synthetic stucco better than hard coat stucco?

What is better than stucco?

How long does stucco last?

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